Published 28th February 2016
Narrow gauge joins standard gauge at Severn Valley Railway spring gala
The Severn Valley Railway (SVR), one of Britain’s top standard gauge heritage lines, is presenting the reverse of Talyllyn Railway’s July event by signing a narrow gauge locomotive as a guest for its March 18-20 Spring Gala. Talyllyn Railway’s 2ft 3in gauge Kerr Stuart 0-4-2ST No. 4 Edward Thomas will appear in steam on a specially laid length of track at Highley station, near SVR’s ‘Engine House’ exhibition building.
This will be the first time Edward Thomas has steamed in public outside Wales since it was built in 1921 for the Corris Railway. It did not carry a number in Corris service but was known as ‘The Tattoo’, after its design type.
The Corris Railway became part of the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1930 and then British Railways, but was closed in 1948. In 1951 the newly preserved Talyllyn Railway was looking for additional motive power and purchased the two surviving Corris locomotives (Talyllyn and Corris shard the unusual 2ft 3in gauge) ‘The Tattoo’ and Corris No. 3.
No. 3 retained its number and was named Sir Haydn while ‘The Tattoo’ became TR No. 4 and named Edward Thomas after the Talyllyn’s former general manager. No. 3 Sir Haydn visited Severn Valley Railway 2013, the out-of-ticket loco riding over the line on a flat wagon during SVR’s autumn gala then being displayed in ‘The Engine House’ until returning to the Talyllyn in late 2014.
SVR has signed a trio of standard gauge Great Western guests to work alongside the home fleet during the spring event: ‘Modified Hall’ No. 6990 Witherslack Hall (from Great Central Railway), Pannier No. 6412 (South Devon Railway) and Pannier No. 6430 (Hugh Shipton/Llangollen Railway). SDR’s 0-6-0PT No. 6412 is making its first ever visit to the Severn Valley while No. 6430 is returning after a 76 year absence – a Kidderminster resident until 1940 it was preserved as a kit of parts in 1966 returning to steam in 2003.
Of the home-based locomotives, newly overhauled No. 7802 Bradley Manor will make its gala debut after returning to front-line service following major overhaul. Other attractions will include GWR 0-4-2T No. 1450 and the visiting Pannier’s working autotrains, double-headed combinations (including Pannier and Prairie and Pannier and Pannier) and goods trains. ‘The Engine House’ will unveil a new exhibition showcasing the work of Terence Cuneo.
One, two and three day rover tickets for SVR’s Spring Steam Gala can be pre-booked on www.svr.co.uk or by phoning 01562 757900 (Option 1) Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm. Information about all SVR’s events can be found at www.svr.co.uk or by calling 01562 757900.
Travel to the gala by rail could hardly be easier, SVR’s Kidderminster station being adjacent to the national network station.
While standard gauge locomotives vising narrow gauge galas, as being undertaken by Talyllyn Railway, is extremely rare (we are struggling to think of a previous occasion) narrow gauge locomotives have visited standard gauge galas on odd occasions. Talyllyn’s out-of-ticket No. 3 Sir Haydn has made static appearances at Severn Valley, West Somerset and Great Central events in the past, while narrow gauge locomotives in steam on temporary tracks have featured during ‘Steel, Steam & Stars’ mega-gala events at Llangollen Railway’s Carrog station.
There will be no narrow gauge involvement during Llangollen’s April 8-10 Spring Gala this year, but plenty of Cambrian action.
The ‘Along Cambrian Lines Gala’ gala will be headlined by two guest locomotives: No. 7820 Dinmore Manor (Dinmore Manor Locomotive Ltd/Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway) and Small Prairie No. 4566 (Severn Valley Railway). In addition, it is likely the gala will also feature the return to Llangollen action of resident 4-6-0 No. 7822 Foxcote Manor following major overhaul – which will enable two BR unlined black ‘Manors’ to run together for the first time in preservation. Home-based Large Prairie No. 5199, Pannier No. 6430 and resident Standard 4MT 2-6-4T No. 80072 should also appear.
Full details including the latest programme can be found at: http://www.llangollen-railway.co.uk/event/spring-steam-gala-8th-april/
The visit of Captain Baxter has added significance. Its presence will unite four surviving Fletcher, Jennings locomotives for an unparalleled reunion. TR’s Fletcher, Jennings pair, 0-4-2ST No. 1 Talyllyn and 0-4-0WT No. 2 Dolgoch (the event specifically marks Dolgoch’s 150th anniversary) will be in operation with the fourth example of this locomotive builder’s products being ex-Dorking Greystone Lime Co. 3ft 2.25in gauge Fletcher, Jennings 0-4-0T William Finlay (173L/1880) which was purchased late last year by The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Trust. Presently undergoing cosmetic restoration, William Finlay will be displayed throughout the gala before taking its place inside the museum at Wharf.
Talyllyn Railway’s Wharf station is just a short walk from Network Rail’s Cambrian Coast line station serving Tywyn. Captain Baxter will be within sight of the national network tracks which pass the narrow gauge terminus parallel to the old wharf from which slate used to be transhipped from TR to standard gauge wagons.